Workplace safety: Don’t get bent out of shape!

What most people do not realise is that one of the most negligible hazards in the workplace is poor ergonomics.

Ergo… what??

Basically, it occurs when the type of work or working condition puts a strain on your body and physical health.  This is one of the hardest hazards to spot as the negative effects take time to manifest.

Many muscle strains result from performing the same motion over and over again. These become repetitive stress injuries. You don’t even realise it, but a lot of the things we do on a daily basis, be it at work or at home, pose repetitive stress on our bodies. Example, typing and using a computer mouse can result in carpal tunnel syndrome. Short-term exposure may result in sore muscles, but long- term exposure can result in serious long-term illnesses!

So what can be done to improve this?

First off, it is the company’s duty to adopt an ergonomic approach to the workplace.

A desk setup that contributes to poor posture will cause long-term harm to the employee such as neck and back strain. Eventually, this can lead to problems with muscles, discs, and joints. Each desk station should have the monitor set at eye-length level, aligned with the keyboard. Chairs should be height adjustible and its arc should support a straight position for the back.

Fatigue is another of the most common causes of workplace injuries. Depending on the nature of the work consider allowing frequent short breaks, especially for outdoor workers. Short breaks are also good in duties requiring repetitive, monotous functions, especially when sitting is required.

Poorly designed or maintained tools and equipment may require workers to perform awkward movements or to contort their body in order to perform a task. Repeated day after day, this causes excessive fatigue and may result in spine and joints injury. Regular maintenance and repairs are required to avoid injury.

Regular phone use can be damaging to the ear, as well as the neck especially when people cradle the phone in order to take notes. Use an earpiece (especially for customer centre) instead or the speaker if you have your own office.

Regular use of laptop, mobile devices and tablets can cause various injuries from eye strain to neck strain. These devices worsen the problem as people continue to use them throughout the evening as they take work home. Take a break from the devices to carry out other tasks, especially when at home. Ensure that lighting in the room is adequate to prevent eye strain.

These examples highlight that many issues associated with poor ergonomics develop over time. When you consider the fact that we spend upwards of one-third our lives at work, proper ergonomics in the workplace is critical to long-term well-being and injury prevention.

It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees are working in a conducive environment. Remember that the company benefits in the long run in terms of reduced sick leave and staff turn over. Regular occupational safety checks are a must in every workplace.

The best strategy for rent negotiations

Whether you’re haggling the fishmonger for a better price or persuading your toddler to eat his vegetables, you’ve no doubt engaged in some negotiating at some point. Especially true if you have kids because, let’s face it, bribery works better than threats!

So whether you’re house hunting for new accommodation and the perfect place is slightly out of your price range, or your landlord is raising the rent on your current apartment, you always have the option to try and negotiate your rent.

We know, it sounds intimidating! But you’ll be surprised at how, with a little strategy, you just might win over the landlord.

Here’s how we recommend to go about it:

Ask whether the rent price is open to discussion
Politely ask the landlord if he is willing to discuss rent prices and when is a good time to negotiate. It doesn’t hurt to know whom you are talking to, especially if you’re negotiating price for a new place. If possible, find out if your landlord is known to be open to discussion. If you’re facing a rent increase, it is always best to start the conversation at least a month before your tenancy agreement is up so your proprietor has enough time to consider your offer or, if need be, you have time to make other plans.

Negotiate in person, follow up in writing
As best as possible, try to avoid telephonic discussions. Talk to the landlord in person as face to face negotiation is usually best. Remember to remain calm, polite and professional during the discussion; it does not pay to be  rude or defensive. Follow up the discussion within 24 hours with a brief text if e-mail is not possible, thanking them for the meeting and reiterating your suggestion.

Sell yourself!
No, we don’t mean literally. If you are facing a rent increase, you should remind the landlord what a reliable, responsible tenant you have been. Assuming you have always paid your rent on time and have kept the property in good shape, a gentle reminder might help. After all, the landlord does not know whether he will find a good a tenant as you, so it can help prove your worthiness and give them an incentive to keep your current rent.

If you’re on the marker for a new place and your situation allows, you can show you’re financially stable by offering the landlord a few concessions; paying a few months of rent in advance or signing on for a longer lease which saves the landlord money in turnover.

Keep an open mind
And be willing to compromise! Unless you’re absolutely unable to afford the rent rate, you could always suggest a compromise amount that you can afford. For example, if the rent is SCR 1000 higher than you’d like, offer to pay SCR 500 instead.

Have a backup plan!
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, negotiations do not go as planned and you find yourself having to look for alternative accommodations. It is always best to have several places on your radar, just in case your first plan does not pan out.

Remember that landlords are persons just like me and you. As much as they are running a business, they are also family-oriented and they care for their community. In the long run, they are looking for the most responsible tenants (timely rent, clean house and property in good condition). If you are that tenant, you are in a better position to try and negotiate your rent.

A retailer’s needs

Running your own shop is not that easy. The cost of doing business in Seychelles is generally high. Such is the life of the retailer trying to stay afloat in an ocean of similar competitors.

Why some businesses succeed
Some out of pure luck, but for the most part it is because of strong business acumen. A good business person knows their market and is quick to react to the ever-changing needs of customers. If you are in the clothing business, you need to keep up with fashion trends. If general groceries are more your area, then you need to improve the shopping experience of your client. If it is technology you seek, then you need to provide all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Whatever it is, you need to be good at it and on top of it.

One areas where most ignore and only the truly successful masters is financial management. To make you a cut above the rest, you need to be able to manage your finances properly. And here is one area which we can help you with.

As an aspiring business person, it will become your duty to keep your house in order, including sorting out your insurance needs. While risk-taking is common, managing an uninsured business is an unnecessary risk no entrepreneur has ever taken. In fact, during unforeseen events and circumstances, businesses turn to their insurance provider to bail them out thus not affecting their cash flow.

Product Liability
To protect you if your clients suffer personal injury or property damage arising from your business activities. In this instance, if you sell a defective product and the customer was to sustain injury as a result, this insurance would provide you with coverage in the event of a law suit.

Goods in Transit cover
To cover your goods from damage, theft or loss during transit. In this instance, it will cover your goods during delivery and unloading.

Public Liability
To protect you if members of the public suffer personal injury or property damage arising from your business activities. In this instance, if a person is injured on your premises as a result of an activity your business was conducting.

Employer’s Liability
To cover your legal liability in respect of accidental death or bodily injury to employees due to negligence. If your employee suffers an injury as a result of doing work for the business and the employee was not at fault, your business will likely face a law suit. Depending on the injury or if it resulted in death, the compensation can be costly.

Directors and Officers Liability
In this day and age, it is quite conceivable that directors and officers of your company may be sued for actions of the company that they authorise. This policy covers the cost of compensation paid under such a lawsuit.

For more information on your insurance needs as a retailer, visit us at our new office in town, call us on 429 5000 or send an email to

Insurance needs for the festive season


Now that the festive season is around the corner, you need to take a quick stock of your insurance needs. Hey now, you’re thinking, what does insurance have to do with festivities? EVERYTHING! Since we are Debbie Downer, let us run through a quick check list:

  • Insurance expiry

Naturally, because we are fun-loving human beings, our minds are packed with thoughts of and anticipation for parties, new attires and shoes, jolly music, colourful lights and adorned trees, drinks, great food and awesome gifts. The last thing on your mind is “insurance”. But woe to you if your insurance expires around the festive season. So, take this month before the season comes to check your due date. Do not let insurance expiry sneak up on you. Better yet, if you take care of it before the season arrives, it won’t matter if you forget about insurance come December.

  • Pay your premium early

Maybe you are not so forgetful about your dues. After all, you are very hands on with your household matters. But maybe you are a splurger like the rest of us around the festive season¯\_(ツ)_/¯  and you might just find yourself a little cash strapped come January. If you think your spending will go out of hand this year, come visit us and see how you can settle your premium early.

  • Drunk drivers and bad insurance

Yup, the inevitable drunk-driving incident will happen during the December-January period. Not that it doesn’t happen year-round, but you should be especially attentive around this time of the year. The worse part is where their insurance does not cover a whole lot. Even worse, if their claim is not accepted by their insurance provider because they were drunk. The last thing you want to worry about is car repair.

  • Not enough insurance coverage

You might want to take a quick look at your own insurance policies. If your insurance is not enough to cover all eventualities, you might find yourself unlucky around the festive season. Things to worry about are burglaries, fires, floods, underinsurance and no insurance. You may want to ensure that your home insurance is broad and that it covers fixtures as well as contents. Check to ensure that your home insurance covers the value of your home and its contents. If you had new renovations, you might want to come back to us to have those added to the value of your insured assets. If you are a third-party insurance holder, you might want to upgrade that to a comprehensive policy. It is better to have full protection for yourself and not just for others. If you do not have any insurance, here is a list of useful ones for the festive period: householder insurance, fire insurance, travel insurance, motor full comprehensive insurance and personal accident insurance.

  • Improve your safety and security

Unfortunately, as well as being the most jovial time of the year, for many it is also the most traumatic. Families have lost loved ones due to preventable accidents. Homes have been ravaged or partially damaged by fire as a result of overload in electricity or sub-standard electrical appliances. Houses have been broken into by opportunistic thieves. The rainy season in January has also contributed towards a lot of home damage, road accidents and personal injury. Take this time to improve the security of your home. Install a new lock and alarm system. Ensure your car is in good maintenance. Double check your appliances and electrical sockets at night. If you leave your lights on, make sure there is no overload and remove fire hazards. Check your fire alarm if it is working properly.

You might just want to avoid unnecessary hassles by sorting out all your insurance needs before the season hits. Allow yourself the time to enjoy the festivities without money-problems in January. Visit us at our new location in town or call us on 429 5000 or send an email to for more information on all our insurance products.